Ndidi Nwuneli speaks to startup founders on how to launch a successful startup 

Nigerian entrepreneur Ndidi Nwuneli, yesterday, dropped some powerful and insightful nuggets on the subject of ‘How to Launch a Successful Startup”.

He was a speaker at the recently concluded Future Forward 2.0 Techfair organized by Zenith Bank in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to him, highlighted below are some important things you need to know and questions you should ask yourself before you launch that business:

Your Business plan

  • What is your ‘Why’ for doing this business?
  • Is your business model unique?
  • What is your plan A, B, and C?
  • What business are you starting?
  • It’s easy to start but think about scaling up after you start.
  • Business should be demand driven. It’s not about what you want but what people are willing to pay.
  • It needs to leverage technology, data and innovation and must shape the ecosystem
  • What rules will affect it? Gokada, for example, was affected by the ban on okadas.
  • Is it cost-efficient?
  • Are your products or services expensive, and can you justify the cost?
  • How does it adapt to change?
  • An example is Twiga in Kenya which has raised almost 90 million dollars, and their business model is simple- Connect sellers of bananas, apples etc, with farmers. They are now planning to expand to other parts of Africa.
  • You have to be ready to redesign.
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Your Team

  • Beyond the team you build in your pitch, you need real partners you can trust, who have integrity and share your vision.
  • The skills of your team members should complement each other
  • Regarding leadership, you need to demonstrate credibility. It is also very important to have a board of directors because no one will give money to a one-man squad.
  • Invest in governance- have an advisory board or board of directors.

Your Brand

How do you tell your brand’s story, and how does it show up in the business name, logo, tagline, marketing strategy, etc.?

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An example is HelloTractor, which the founders consider ‘The Uber of tractors’. The business has an impressive marketing strategy and now has a presence in India, rest of Africa, Asia, etc.

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Business Continuity

  • How is your pitch money spent?
  • Do you have credibility and a good track record?
  • Do you have a presence on the ground and not just some pumped-up numbers on paper, e.g. 500 million users, views, subscribers, etc?
  • What is your exit strategy?
  • Do you know the policy that governs your business?
  • How do you shape the policies that govern your business?
  • Who are your opponents and your champions?
  • How do you turn your opponents into champions?
  • How do you build financial stability?
  • Be ready to roll up your sleeves and get the job done.
  • Have a six-month buffer for your business. That is if your business is not yet profitable, do you have something to live on during that time?
  • Create a scenario plan and contingency plan.
  • Avoid hype because it is not sustainable.
  • Invest in impact, not fiction
  • Commit to building your startup.
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Finally, he noted that running a startup can be lonely. But having a support system can help. Also, it’s important to stay humble and grounded so that you can rise. Eventually, we have to create a nation that will survive in the future.

About Ndidi Nwuneli

Ndidi is the executive chair of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd, Founder of Leap Africa, Sahel Capita, and other entrepreneurial ventures.

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He is an expert in African agriculture and nutrition, philanthropy, and social change and has more than 25 years of experience in international development. He is also a recognized serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant.


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